My life is nuts. And I’m secure enough to admit it. Running a business, keeping up a home, and raising kids are all full-time jobs independent of one another, but added together they produce a person who desperately NEEDS a vacation. The problem? Said person has no time (or energy) to plan one.
So how do you escape to a dream destination to experience culture, enjoy the thrill of adventure, and relax while doing it all? It’s easier than you think. I took one of my favorite travel partners, Globus, up on one of their amazing offers to explore a guided vacation to a destination on my bucket list – beautiful Italy.
After an overnight nonstop flight to Rome, I emerged bleary-eyed from Customs to a warm welcome from the Globus staff, who whisked me away to my hotel, complete with VIP baggage handling. Our tour director, Nicholas – soon to become a fast friend and essential resource – met us in the lobby, and he was quick to meet our immediate needs. After checking us into the hotel, he recommended a few places to grab a quick lunch and to stretch our legs, then he reminded us what time to be ready for dinner. We were off!
Rome is an immense and bustling city full of history and charm, and we were able to soak it all in at a leisurely pace without sacrificing a thing. Traveling on a guided vacation meant we breezed past long lines at every site, always in the company of a knowledgeable local guide, and we took in the best the city had to offer. We were fortunate to visit the Vatican during the Year of Jubilee, which traditionally takes place only every 25 years, and had the coveted opportunity to walk through the Holy Door. After marveling at the sanctity of the Sistine Chapel and Michelangelo’s moving Pietà, we went on to walk in the footsteps of gladiators in the Colosseum and Roman Forum. These were things I had only seen in textbooks, but we were really there – seeing, touching and feeling it all!
From Rome we headed south, and in many ways back in time. Basing out of the lovely coastal town of Sorrento, we explored the tragic site Pompeii and sipped bubbly on the black sand beach in Positano before ending our travels in Alberobello. This region is famous for its trulli homes – small white stone dwellings with beehive roofs. Here, we explored the unique culture, participated in cooking demonstrations (gelato…mmm!) and gazed in wonder at the idyllic scenery.
From Alberobello, I chose to extend my travels further south. While the group headed back to Rome for departure, my friend Kathy and I made our way south to Bernalda. I’ll admit, I felt adrift for the first 24 hours. Where was Nicholas? Who would educate me about the local culture and importance of the sites I would visit? Since we had grown accustomed to having a resourceful guide, it was a little intimidating to suddenly be on my own in an unfamiliar setting.
We spent much of our time meandering around town, mingling with locals that spoke not a word of English, and standing in awe of our ancient surroundings. We also visited Matera, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and toured a local winery with a private driver and guide. While this time of independent travel was enjoyable, it was by no means economical. This 3-night portion of our trip cost as much as the entire 7-day guided tour with the group on our guided vacation!
While we enjoyed the exclusivity of private touring, we missed our travel companions and enjoying new experiences together. I love learning with and from others, and I am beyond excited about my next guided vacation. The best part? Thanks to Globus, it’s as simple as choosing the destination, signing up, and joining the fun! So that begs the question…..What are YOU waiting for??
Guided vacation? YES, please! This video says it all perfectly!